Travel is said to broaden the mind, but when travel involves shepherding groups of disparate holidaymakers, nerves can be stretched and patience tried.
My India is a colourful and lively account of a holiday tour manager whose job it is to ensure that holidaymakers get the most from their time in India as well as to keep the peace between sometimes warring factions.
There are the obvious things to remember – who is vegetarian, who tends to get lost in crowds, who just has to stop and take photos all the time, as well as locating the best seat on the train, finding the cleanest toilets and working out just how all those large bottoms are going to fit in that tiny jeep…
The author has clearly fallen in love with India, its people and its vibrant history; we share in her awe at the Taj Mahal, we can see the brightly coloured saris worn by the villagers and hear the noise and shouting in a crowded street market. This is a love affair that we are privileged to be part of and its telling can only make us want to jump on the next plane out there.
There is always plenty of travel-writing available to the reader, but few accounts are told from the perspective of traveller as well as that of tour manager. The author shows us first-hand not only her own awe and wonder at the Indian continent but also shares with us the frustrations and joys of travelling with others.
The needs of the Serious Photographer clash with those of the Happy Snapper, nature-lovers conflict with bazaar shoppers, but all have to be accommodated in the common aim of experiencing India first-hand.
A good tour manager needs to be able to find compromises between ardent shoppers and lovers of architecture, know who to keep apart on train journeys and work out how many large bottoms can be squeezed into a small jeep… All these challenges however cannot detract from the fact that the author has fallen in love with India, its warm and friendly people, and its sheer beauty, all of which shine through in this direct and honest narrative.
My India will be available from Amazon.
Author: Valery Collins, © 2013
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